Five years before meeting Aubrey, I was in despair. Still dealing with the residue of a divorce after 20 years of marriage and the tragic death of my second husband—a shocking result of his manic depression—plus several love affairs and a broken engagement, I was emotionally exhausted. In my off-hours from the demands of the art business in two cities, I found myself sinking into bouts of tears and despondency, trying to dispel the fear that I would never have a true and lasting love in my life. A close friend called one day and suggested that I make an appointment with a clairvoyant who was visiting Memphis. "She's fabulous," my friend said as she proceeded to tell me all the insights and factual information the psychic had revealed to her. Dismissing the voice of doubt, I thought: "Why not? What do I have to lose?"
After speaking with the woman—a cheery voice on the telephone—I drove to an ordinary, small brick house on an ordinary street, nothing spooky. The woman who opened the door had an open face and a mop of curly reddish hair. "Hi there," she said, as if we had known each other before. "I'm Charlene. I'm glad you've come." She showed me into the living room, a sparse space with a rocking chair next to a standing lamp and a straight-back chair across from it. The blinds were drawn, making the room feel like twilight in the middle of the day. "Sit here, my dear," she instructed, pointing to the straight-back chair. She sat down in the rocking chair and lit a candle on a small table under the lamp.
"Now, tell me," she said, "what is it you have come to ask?"
Before I could speak, my throat filled with tears. I felt as if I were a small child desperately trying to stay above water in a pool. I started to gasp.
"Do not worry, my dear," she said in a mossy-soft voice. "You are safe here."
Her voice was a sort of balm. I swallowed several times as if flushing away years of unspoken fears.
"Now, tell me," she said again, "tell me why you're here."
"I want to know if—" I began, but I couldn't finish the sentence. Finally, I blurted out: "I want to know if I am supposed to have a true and lasting love in my life. It's okay if I'm not. It's really okay. I have so much in my life. My family. My friends. My artists. My galleries. I just want to know. I want to stop worrying about it—thinking about it all the time."
"Let us see," she said, and she closed her eyes.
We both sat in stillness for a matter of minutes, then she cocked her head toward the ceiling, and her voice became high-pitched and singsong. "Well, my dear, the real question is: What is it that you truly want for your life?"
I began to feel the tears forming again. "I want to share my life," I said. "I've always wanted to share my life. But it seems that I am destined to be with the wrong person. It always ends in disaster. I don't know. Maybe I am not supposed to share my life."
"My dear," Charlene's lilting voice filled the room, "the spirits say that you should have exactly what you want. They say that of course you should share your life if that is what you want."